A VIDEO RECAP is provided on the Sun Belt web site.
Muscle Shoals, Ala. – Georgia State shot the low round of the day to overcome an 11-stroke deficit and take the lead at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Golf Championship on Tuesday afternoon on the Robert Trent Jones Fighting Joe Course. The Panthers 2-under 286 tied for GSU’s lowest relation to par this season.
The Panthers have four golfers in the top 11 of the 55-player field.
Freshman Jonathan Grey shot an impressive 4-under 68, one off a career low, to jump from a tie for 43rd to a tie for 11th. After starting the event 10-over after six holes on Monday, Grey is 7-under his last 29 holes.
The Panthers run to the top of the leaderboard included a 2-under 70 from junior Grant Cagle, who now stands tied for fifth at even par.
“Words cannot explain how impressed I was with my team today,” commented head coach Joe Inman. “We talked before the second round and just said that we needed to play our game and start to cut into the lead. We played smart golf all day long and were rewarded, but we have to stay focused as there is still 18 holes to play.
“Jonathan and Grant really stepped up for us today and Davin fought back after being 4-over. Jonathan continues to impress me and has really stepped up after a tough start yesterday. Nothing seems to surprise me with him anymore.
“We are excited heading to the final round, but we know we have not won anything yet. We had a title taken away from us last year and don’t want it to happen again.”
Georgia State is looking to win its seventh conference title in the last 16 years and first Sun Belt Conference Championship. A win would send the Panthers back to the NCAA Regionals for an 11th time in the last 15 years.
Grey, the top ranked golfer in the conference, made five birdies and an eagle at the par 5, 622-yard 12th hole en route to the 68.
Cagle made five birdies in his second round and stands even after 36 holes. The junior will be looking for his first career top 10 on Wednesday.
White shot a second round 2-over 74 and is tied for 11th at 3-over with White and Tyler Gruca. The sophomore was 4-over with three holes to play and birdied 16, 17 and just missed a birdie put on 18.
Gruca made one birdie and had some impressive saves down the stretch for a second round 74 and is in that group at 3-over.
Sophomore Damon Stephenson shot a second round 76 and is 7-over and tied for 29th entering the final round. Stephenson made a pair of birdies on the back nine.
The Panthers have a one-stroke lead over No. 38 North Texas which shot a second round 1-under, 287. First round leader, No. 49 South Alabama, shot a second round 12-over 300 and stands in third at 8-over. Middle Tennessee is fourth at 9-over following a second round 290, while Arkansas-Little Rock is fifth at 11-over.
North Texas’ Rodolfo Cazaubon shot a second round 4-under 68 and leads by one with 18 holes to play at 4-under. Middle Tennessee’s Lucas Armstrong is second at 3-under, followed by South Alabama’s Lane Hulse at 2-under. Arkansas-Little Rock’s Nicklaus Benton is fourth at 1-under, while Cagle and UALR’s Colby Benton are tied for fifth at even par.
Georgia State will return to the course on Wednesday, teeing off the first hole at 9:15 a.m. ET/8:15 a.m. CT with North Texas and South Alabama.
With a win this week, Georgia State would advance to one of six NCAA Regional sites, May 16-18. If the Panthers do not take home the championship, there is still an outside shot of receiving an at-large berth into the postseason when the selections are announced.